Joe Urbz Media & Photography


It has been awhile since I posted. This is due to the chaotic return to the new school year, which is still under serious construction. Stress levels have been very high. Getting students in my classes organized, motivated, and within a creative groove has been extremely challenging; probably more so this year than most. I could go on and on, but I do not want to be too negative here. It would be overwhelming.

So, let me share some experiences with FCPX in the classroom with Rim Today. We have used FCPX to finish our last two episodes of Season Xi. The students still use FCP7, AE5, PS5, and a little bit of iMovie’11 for their segments, while using Blue USB mic’s for voiceovers, make adjustments for color and audio as best they can. Then they place their quicktime exports onto the class Xserve. That’s when I use some of the good parts of FCPX to create the final edit of our episodes.

What good parts? LOL. Ok, well, importing right off the server into the Event Manager. While I still prefer the bin-style organization of FCP/Premiere, the case of this workflow proves that we save some time with FCPX’s background ingest and transcoding to ProRes. We do not always have to use ProRes, but the quality and speed is so much nicer to work with. Our workflow on these shows do not have strict timecode restrictions for placement. The final flow of Rim Today comes with the segments being added; part of the creativity. Another timesaver is the background rendering and trying effects (audio and video) on the fly as the storyline plays. Oh my, does that save time. The audio tools within FCPX are a great boon after getting used to them. Teaching students video graphics is a challenge. We use FCP7, Motion 4, LiveType, and Keynote (animated slides work well in a jiffy). FCPX offers some nice quick templates for lower thirds. Motion 5 looks fun to mess with. FCPX also loves our Canon T2i video footage. We used the Retiming and Optical Flow options and students picked it up quickly.

Now the bad. FCPX has frozen a few times, as expected. We have lost some changes in editing when re-opening the project. PLEASE Apple, add a Save option. We do watch for the “UNDO” issue of working or not. When it stops UNDO-ing, we know FCPX is not saving. File sizes and renders are also HUGE. I do delete unused render files often. Another bad point, FCPX will work on a MacBook Pro from 2006 but not on a 2007 Mac Pro due to a video card issue. Makes me crazy, so I am stuck with a Core i5 iMac. Good machine, but the Mac Pro has serious RAM and CPU cores. This does blow my mind. On the 2006 MBP, it makes that CPU burn up. Do not use FCPX to edit off a battery; it will get so hot, the machine will shut itself down after 20 minutes. I was flummoxed over this; brand new battery, too.

In summary, FCPX has brought some positive and time-saving elements to the Rim Today workflow. We will not abandon FCP7 by any stretch. We do not use XML exports or EDL. In the near future, we will need Multi-cam and other stability fixes. If Apple will ever update FCPX, we would be more excited. Now, do not get me started on Lion. Sad
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